120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1862 - 1865)

Also Known As: One Hundred Twentieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: September 27, 2011

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units.

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units.

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

Infantry regiments formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On October 17, 1862, the 120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Mansfield, at Mansfield, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years and consisted primarily of enlistees from Wayne, Ashland, Richland, and Holmes Counties, Ohio.

On October 25, 1862, the 120th traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, where officials sent the regiment across the Ohio River to Covington, Kentucky. On November 24, 1862, the organization boarded river transports for Memphis, Tennessee, reaching this location on December 7, 1862. At Memphis, the unit joined General William T. Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee. In late December 1862, the 120th and the rest of the Army of the Tennessee sailed down the Mississippi River and then up the Yazoo River to Johnson’s Landing. The regiment participated in the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (December 26-29, 1862) and also in the Northern victory at the Battle of Arkansas Post (January 9-11, 1863). The 120th was the first regiment to enter Fort Hindman, the main Confederate position during the Battle of Arkansas Post. Following this engagement, the regiment encamped at Young’s Point, Louisiana, suffering severely from various illnesses. At Young’s Point, officials assigned the 120th to the 3rd Brigade, 9th Division, 13th Corps.

In mid March 1863, the 120th advanced to Milliken’s Bend and, in early April, to New Carthage, where officials placed the regiment onboard Union ironclads. The organization sailed to Grand Gulf and also to Bruinsburg, both in Mississippi, before engaging Confederate forces at the Battle of Thompson’s Hill, near Port Gibson, Mississippi, on April 20, 1863. The regiment had one man killed or wounded for every eight soldiers engaged in the battle. The 120th next advanced to Raymond, Mississippi, staying at this location until May 18, 1863, when the unit advanced to Vicksburg, Mississippi. On May 20, 1863 and again on May 22, 1863, the regiment participated in assaults on the Confederate lines at Vicksburg. Two days after the second assault, the organization marched to Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi, where the unit remained for the duration of the Siege of Vicksburg, guarding this important transportation infrastructure.

Following the Union’s capture of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the 120th departed Big Black River Bridge on July 6, 1863 and advanced towards Jackson, Mississippi, reaching the Confederate lines at this city four days later. The regiment remained engaged with Southern forces from July 10, 1863 until July 17, 1863, when the Confederates evacuated the city. The organization returned to Big Black River Bridge on July 20, 1863 and encamped at Vicksburg the following day. On August 8, 1863, the 120th sailed down the Mississippi to Port Hudson, Louisiana, remaining at this location for one week, before traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana. On September 5, 1863, the regiment advanced to Berwick City and then to Opelousas, before returning to Berwick City on September 9, 1863. In mid September 1863, officials dispatched the 120th to Plaquemine, Louisiana, one hundred miles north of New Orleans on the Mississippi River. At this location, the regiment entered winter encampment, staying here until late March 1864.

On March 23, 1864, the 120th departed Plaquemine for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On May 1, 1864, the regiment boarded the City Belle, sailing to reinforce General Nathaniel Banks’s force at Alexandria. As the ship sailed around a bend on the Red River near Snaggy Point, approximately five thousand Confederate soldiers with cannons opened fire. The Southerners disabled the transport. The Union soldiers resisted the Confederate attack for approximately thirty minutes, before many of the troopers surrendered, while others jumped from the ship and escaped into the forest. The Southerners captured approximately two hundred men and sent the prisoners to Camp Ford, near Tyler, Texas. The captives reached Camp Ford on May 21, 1864 and remained in custody until the war’s end in April 1865. The Union soldiers that escaped made their way to Alexandria, where they joined Banks’s command on May 12, 1864.

On May 13, 1864, Banks began his retreat from Alexandria. The 120th joined the withdrawal, arriving at Morganza, Louisiana on May 21, 1864. The organization participated in a brief expedition to Clinton, Louisiana in late August 1864, before returning to Morganza. On September 13, 1864, the 120th advanced into Arkansas. During September, October, and November 1864, the regiment marched between St, Charles, the mouth of the White River, and Duvall’s Bluff, patrolling the region for Confederate forces.

While encamped at the mouth of the White River on November 25, 1864, officials consolidated the 120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry with the 114th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The new regiment retained the name of the 114th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, thus ending the existence of the 120th.

During its term of service, the 120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost nineteen men, including two officers, to wounds. An additional 281 soldiers, including six officers, died from disease or accidents.

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"120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 17 Nov 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=883>

APA Style

"120th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved November 17, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=883

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